Pollution problems hit Madrid

Madrid completely car-free following anti-pollution parking ban


MADRID'S radical anti-pollution plan means the city streets resemble a Sunday afternoon rather than a working day, locals report – parking has been banned within the M-30 ringroad, or the central 'oval' of the city, except for residents and the disabled.

Mixed feelings have been provoked by the sudden parking ban, which carries a €90 fine if ignored.
 
Those who live in the city are delighted with the extra parking spaces suddenly available to them, and traffic jams have disappeared literally overnight.
 
Getting from A to B in taxi or bus is much quicker and easier, and the whole city has a more relaxed feel about it, say workers, tourists and residents.
 
But the downside has been that all public transport routes are now packed.
 
The frequency of metro trains has not increased, and when they arrive, it is often impossible even to get on board, especially during rush hour.
 
Those who have further to go to get to work say they are now spending more time on the train, the metro and then the bus than at home.
 
Hospitals are an exception – 'parking police' have been told to 'be sensitive' and 'in no case' to fine or ban patients or their companions or visitors from parking.
 
Other measures aimed at reducing air contamination – said to multiply safe levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – include advising the elderly not to exercise outside, and dropping the speed limit from 90 kilometres per hour to 70 on the M-30 network and on roads leading into the capital within the M-40 ringroad.
 
 
 
 
 
Did you have to change your travel plans today?
 
What do you think of the measure that the city hall has taken?
 


Comments

Anonymous said…

Hi Graham
I didn´t change my plans beacuse I don´t live in the city centre. But for me when I need go to Madrid, I usually drive, and park in the city centre, and I think than the pollution is not something this week, I think it´s something that happens for a long time. In the future I´d like that the town hall take more long term measures. For example during one month all m-30 always drives to 70km oer hour. I don´t believe in the measures from one day to another day.
Sandra
Graham said…
Hi Sandra,

I agree with you to some extent. We have to come up with some long-term plans but we also need solutions to the immediate problem of high pollution levels.


... I thinkthat pollution is not a new problem, it's something that has been happening over a long time. In the future, I'd like the town hall to take more long-term measures. For example, for one month all cars on the M30 must always drive at 70km per hour. I don't believe in measures from one day to the next.
For me, there are no changes in my dayly commute rutine, as I live out of Madrid.

In my opinion, this measeres are about time. There are lot of Europe places with similar measures for ages now and people have easyly get use to them. Morover, everything is for our health, not for annoy people without reason. For me is a completely good and apropiete measure
Graham said…
Hi Ana,

I didn't change my routine either. I was rushing from one lesson to the next, as always, on foot.


For me, there were no changes to my daily commute routine, as I live out of Madrid.

In my opinion, these measures are about time. There are a lot of places in Europe which have had similar measures for ages now and people have easily got used to them. Moreover, everything is for our health, not to annoy people without (any) reason. For me, it is a fair and appropriate measure.


I entirely agree with you. These measures have been taken for a legitimate reason.

Be careful with your spelling. Or are they all typos?????
Hi Graham,

I didn't change my plans last Friday because I always use the public transport from Colmenar Viejo to get Madrid city centre. Nevertheless, I think that the lack of anticipation was the worst point of the messure. The Government announced the plan at Thursday night via Twitter which meant that lots of people didn't receive the accurate information. In my opinion, the problem wasn't the messure because it was necessary due to the pollution limits. The real mistake was the way and the channel to communicate it to the affected population.
Graham said…
Hi Maria,

Have you always lived in the outskirts? I've always lived in the centre and for most, I walk from place to place. If I can help it, I avoid getting on the underground.

I like how you combined measures and mess to come up with "messures" ie measures that simply create chaos.



Nevertheless, I think that the lack of anticipation /the inability to forsee this happening was the worst point of the measure. The Government announced the plan on Thursday night via Twitter which meant that lots of people didn't receive accurate information. In my opinion, the problem wasn't the measure itself because it was necessary due to the high levels of pollution. The real mistake was the way and the channel to communicate it to the affected population.


Can you see the layer of smog that covers Madrid from Colmenar? Are you lucky enough to breathe fresh air there?

Roberto said…
Hi everybody,

Although I like Madrid, it´s a city with several problems: dirt, noise, pollution, traffic jams... In my opinion, all these problems are connected, maybe we need a global solution for all of them, I don´t know... In the meanwhile, my allergy is getting worse. This problem estarted when I came to Madrid, almost 20 years ago (I think because of the pollution). Nowadays are a lot of people with respiratory problems because of the pollution.
We need some kind of solution...
Graham said…
Hi Roberto,

I agree. Pollution is not a new phenomenon - it has engulfed Madrid over many years. Something has to be done.

I think that people are aware of the problem but don't realize how serious the situation is. They are reluctant to give up their car.



This problem started when I came to Madrid, almost 20 years ago (I think because of the pollution). Nowadays there are a lot of people with respiratory problems due to the pollution.


Belén said…
Hi Graham!
It´s Belén.

I hadn´t to change my travel plan neither. I live in the line 1 of metro and the trains worked well although they were a bit more full of people. I agree with these measures and even i believe that they should taken with more often.
Other possible measure for reducing contamination is include the use of bicycle in the transport pass, people would use the bicycles more and in addition, they would take better care because they could access them.

See you.
Graham said…
Hi Belén,

I agree that something should be done to encourage people to use alternative means of getting around. However , cyclists kind of get on my nerves. They think that traffic laws don't apply to them.

I didn't have to change my travel plan either. I live on line 1 of the metro and the trains worked well although they were a bit more crowded. I agree with these measures and I even believe that they should be taken more often.
Another possible measure to reduce pollution is to include the use of bicycles in the transport pass, people would use the bicycles more and in addition, they would take better care because they could make use of them.